This internet browser is outdated and does not support all features of this site. Please switch or upgrade to a different browser to display this site properly.

How to deal with exam panic

Copy Link
Image for How to deal with exam panic

It’s natural to feel nervous in the lead up to exams. It’s also natural to feel overwhelmed in the exam.

But we have good news! We’ve collated a bunch of helpful strategies you can use mid-exam to tackle those feelings of overwhelm, ground yourself in the present moment and get those answers down on the page.

  1. Breathe. Take a few deep breathes using techniques such as 4-7-8 breathing,  Equal Breathing or Belly Breathing. Focus on silently counting your breaths and expanding your lungs. Feel your feet heavy on the ground. Ground yourself in the present.
  2. Pinpoint the feeling in your body. Try to pinpoint where the anxiety is in your body. What does it feel like? What does it look like? Mentally acknowledge its presence and allow it to be there.
  3. Get comfortable. Stretch out your limbs. Roll your shoulders. Move your body to a position that feels comfortable.
  4. Practice positive self-talk. Flood any negative thoughts with intentional self-encouragement. Make a conscious effort to think positively about your abilities and readiness for the exam. You studied hard for this, you know your stuff!
  5. Read the instructions and questions carefully. Use all of your reading time to thoroughly go through the instructions and questions to ensure you have a firm grasp of what is being asked of you. Highlight key words. Plan and consider your thoughts for essays. Ensure that you re-read questions before answering.
  6. Don’t rush. If you’re stuck on which questions you want to answer first, start with those that relate most to the revision you have done so you can get that knowledge down onto paper and clear your mind for the questions you need to tackle with a bit more time later on.
  7. Visualise calm. Close your eyes and visualise yourself doing well and staying calm. Combine with a breathing exercise. Do this whenever you feel your anxiety fluctuate throughout the rest of the exam.
  8. Manage your time. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. If a question is tricky or you are becoming bogged down in writing your answer, stop and move on. You can revisit the question at the end when your mind has had time to think over it for a while longer.
  9. Answer as many questions as possible. Give an answer for every question even if you aren’t sure. If you try each question you may receive part marks which can make a big difference. And don’t try to make it perfect – while it is good to check spelling and punctuation, don’t get too caught up in it, no one is expecting perfection.
  10. Disregard what others are doing. Remember that there is no prize for finishing early and it doesn’t matter if you are the last one in the room.

Good luck!

Copy Link